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Some comments about JLPT

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Some comments about JLPT

Postby chchan45 » Sun 11.05.2006 7:37 am

JLPT is the most recognised examination worldwide, but I think the examination authorities have got a little complacent recently. Beloware a few of my comments. What do you think?

1. The examination does not test speaking and writing skills. If you just study for the examination and nothing else, you will be brilliant at reading and listening, but hopeless at speaking and writing (like me).

2. The results are only distributed around 2-3 months after the examinations. Does it really take them that long to mark some multiple-choice questions on a computer?

3. At the moment you can only take one level on the day. Why don't they stagger the examination times a bit? For example, have level 4 first thing in the morning, then 3, 2 and 1 in that order. This will allow people who want a "backup" to take more than one level on the same day - increased number of takers and revenue.

4. Why is the examination only held once a year? The Japanese examination for university students is already held twice per year.

5. For JLPT L1, why do we have to study all these grammar structures which are hardly ever used?

6. The reading comprehension part for JLPT L1 is madness. Do they honestly expect us to finish it in 70 minutes (assuming that you only spend 20 minutes on the grammar)?

Rant over.
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RE: Some comments about JLPT

Postby paul_b » Sun 11.05.2006 7:59 am

chchan45 wrote:
JLPT is the most recognised examination worldwide, but I think the examination authorities have got a little complacent recently.

Why 'recently' ?

1. The examination does not test speaking and writing skills. If you just study for the examination and nothing else, you will be brilliant at reading and listening, but hopeless at speaking and writing (like me).


This is a function of economics. To test writing skills they would need to have people who know Japanese marking each individual paper, to test speaking skills they would need to have people who know Japanese to listen to, and mark, people's speech.

It can be done (and there are English tests in Japan where it is done) but it means more time and money is required. Don't forget it becomes more expensive the farther away you are from Japan.

2. The results are only distributed around 2-3 months after the examinations. Does it really take them that long to mark some multiple-choice questions on a computer?

It takes that long to send the papers back to Japan by boat ... airmail would be faster but more expensive (so economics again).

3. At the moment you can only take one level on the day. Why don't they stagger the examination times a bit? For example, have level 4 first thing in the morning, then 3, 2 and 1 in that order. This will allow people who want a "backup" to take more than one level on the same day - increased number of takers and revenue.


Extra income (to be generous, +10%) along with extra expense (wages of exam staff and rent for rooms). I think the expense would more than eat up the income.

4. Why is the examination only held once a year? The Japanese examination for university students is already held twice per year.


See previous question.

5. For JLPT L1, why do we have to study all these grammar structures which are hardly ever used?


Because at L1 it's getting hard to come up with multiple choice type questions to weed out people that are harder than L2.

6. The reading comprehension part for JLPT L1 is madness. Do they honestly expect us to finish it in 70 minutes (assuming that you only spend 20 minutes on the grammar)?

I had time left over to check my questions.
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RE: Some comments about JLPT

Postby Mike Cash » Sun 11.05.2006 6:13 pm

It's always the reading part people bitch about.....usually people who have neglected to build their reading skills by reading.
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RE: Some comments about JLPT

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 11.05.2006 6:33 pm

When I took JLPT 1, I had plenty of time left over on the reading section. One big mistake you can make is to focus mostly on kanji and neglect the other aspects of the test. When I was studying for the JLPT 1, I did some math and figured out the relative weights of the various types of questions on the test. I forget the exact numbers, but the percentage of points based on questions that asked *direct* questions about kanji (i.e. "what's the reading" or "what kanji is used to write this word") was only about 8%.

(BTW, if you do that math yourself you can also see that by far the best place to cram is in the grammar section.)
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RE: Some comments about JLPT

Postby paul_b » Sun 11.05.2006 7:17 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
When I was studying for the JLPT 1, I did some math and figured out the relative weights of the various types of questions on the test

You cheater you. :D
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RE: Some comments about JLPT

Postby Schattenjedi » Sun 11.05.2006 11:23 pm

Considering the economic factors already mentioned, I think it's forgiveable that the JLPT only tests reading and listening comprehension. If you are strong in these two areas, it's not difficult to improve your writing and speaking through concentrated practice.
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RE: Some comments about JLPT

Postby chchan45 » Fri 12.08.2006 6:04 pm

I just want to respond to some of your comments:

1. It takes that long to send the papers back to Japan by boat ... airmail would be faster but more expensive (so economics again).

First of all, there is not much difference between air and surface mail - I know that because I have just sent something to Malaysia. And secondly, we are in the computer age so surely somebody can scan the papers into jpg files, save them in a DVD and send it across. That also has the additional benefit of making the marking even easier because you do not have to pass them through an optical reader.

2. Extra income (to be generous, +10%) along with extra expense (wages of exam staff and rent for rooms). I think the expense would more than eat up the income.

The argument is valid if you are putting everybody into one room. However, the 4 different levels have different times so 4 sets of people are needed to supervise the examinations anyway. Staggering the times will enable some to take more than 1 level.

Regarding the number of takers, JLPT has more than 0.5 million takers (there was an article in the NHK this Monday), 4 levels and is held once per year. The average number of people taking each level is therefore:
500,000 / 4 / 1 = 125,000

kanken has 2 million takers, 12 levels and is held 3 times per year. The average number of people taking each level is therefore:
2,000,000 / 12 / 3 = 55,555

So if JLPT is held twice a year, the average number of people taking each level is still larger than the average number taking each kanken level.

3. Over 40% of the examinees are from China, and personally I think this gives them a massive advantage in the reading section over those who are not from 漢字文化圏. I say this not out of jealousy.


I still say that the JLPT has grown complacent and has not kept up with the times and the increased number of Japanese learners in the world. This partly explains why JLPT is no longer the only language requirement for university entry (of foreign students).
Last edited by chchan45 on Fri 12.08.2006 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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2. I am not Japanese. I am prone to making mistakes so please point them out if you see any.
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RE: Some comments about JLPT

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 12.08.2006 6:26 pm

chchan45 wrote:
First of all, there is not much difference between air and surface mail


Nonsense.

3. Over 40% of the examinees are from China, and personally I think this gives them a massive advantage in the reading section over those who are not from 漢字文化圏. I say this not out of jealousy.


Chinese people may have an advantage studying Japanese in general, but I don't think this advantage would automatically extend to the JLPT in particular (nor should the JLPT be specifically written to try to eliminate that advantage). The JLPT reading section requires more than just picking out kanji words that are similar in Chinese. If you can't understand the passage itself and the exact wording of the questions, you're not going to get the answers right even if you know what some of the kanji are.
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RE: Some comments about JLPT

Postby hungryhotei » Fri 12.08.2006 6:36 pm

chchan45 wrote:
2. The results are only distributed around 2-3 months after the examinations. Does it really take them that long to mark some multiple-choice questions on a computer?


I agree with you here. We should be getting our results from the kanken sometime this month, only just over one month after taking the test - half the time of the JLPT. And the kanken requires someone to mark it, its not just multiple choice.

chchan45 wrote:
3. At the moment you can only take one level on the day. Why don't they stagger the examination times a bit? For example, have level 4 first thing in the morning, then 3, 2 and 1 in that order. This will allow people who want a "backup" to take more than one level on the same day - increased number of takers and revenue.


I can see two major problems with this. The first, which has already been pointed out, is that the number of people who would want to take two levels on the same day would be very small. How many people improve so fast that they would fail 2Q one year then think that they can pass 1Q the next? And how many people taking 1Q would actually put much or even any value on a 2Q certificate. The second, and possibly more important, point is that this test (including all the waiting around) lasts about 5 hours (1pm to 6pm in London this year) Running 10 hours of testing in one go seems infeasable to me.

I do think, however, that it could be feasable to have the test two times a year. Over half the people taking the test seem to fail it so I don't think that there would be any shortage of people willing to take it.

3. Over 40% of the examinees are from China, and personally I think this gives them a massive advantage in the reading section over those who are not from 漢字文化圏.

I don't see how this is particularly important. The test is a reading test, if Chinese speakers have a higher reading ability (whether through their previous knowledge of 漢字 or not) it is only right that they should do better on the test. It's not a test of how hard you have worked or how much you have learnt, but of how well you can read.



Incedentally, one thing that I wonder about is why the (high levels of the) JLPT is (are) so much more popular than the kanken. According to the statstics, I think about 80 people take 1Q in the UK each year, but I think there were less than 10 non-Japanese taking all of the levels of the kanken in total. Everyone taking JLPT1 should be able to take at least kanken5 and I would have thought that it would have made up for a valuable part of assesment that is missing from the JLPT, as well as a way to demonstrate even higher levels of ability in the higher levels of the kanken. I think I would consider someone with a kanken3 and definately 準2 as above JLPT1. The kanken would also be widely known to Japanese people. Does anybody else have any thoughts on this? Maybe it's because 5Q and 4Q are relatively worthless?
Last edited by hungryhotei on Fri 12.08.2006 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Some comments about JLPT

Postby chchan45 » Fri 12.08.2006 11:01 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
Nonsense.


This is not a very polite reply. I suspect somebody is getting worked up after a long week.

Sending a 100g document to Japan costs £1.02 by surface mail and £2.31 by air mail. Multiply the difference by two and you end up paying £2.58 for getting your results 6 weeks earlier, (assuming surface mail takes 1 month to get there, and air mail takes 1 week).

£2.58 does not even buy me a sandwich at lunchtime.
Reading 李香蘭 私の半生

Please note that:
1. English is not my first language.
2. I am not Japanese. I am prone to making mistakes so please point them out if you see any.
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RE: Some comments about JLPT

Postby suhui » Wed 03.07.2007 11:40 am

Sorry I don't feel like starting a new thread but may I ask if anyone has taken the BJT (Business Japanese Proficiency Test) before? How was the JOCT like? おしえてください〜
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RE: Some comments about JLPT

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 03.07.2007 11:55 am

Please do start a new thread. Hijacking is frowned upon, and I will tell you why. I assumed that someone had made a new post to this thread, and so I reviewed the rest of the thread to make sure I knew what was being said. You have thus wasted several minutes of my time.

(That's not the only reason hijacking is frowned upon, but I really do not understand this "I don't want to make a new thread" -- what's so hard about doing that?)
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RE: Some comments about JLPT

Postby suhui » Wed 03.07.2007 12:01 pm

Lolx sorry sorry..yea I will start a new thread then.. :D
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RE: Some comments about JLPT

Postby Tajoumaru » Wed 03.07.2007 2:54 pm

keatonatron wrote:
chchan45 wrote:

6. The reading comprehension part for JLPT L1 is madness. Do they honestly expect us to finish it in 70 minutes (assuming that you only spend 20 minutes on the grammar)?


No.

They expect you to fail horribly and then write some exchange-student essay about how Japanese is so hard for Westerners to understand. That's where they get their satisfiaction.


Talk about rude. Apologize immediately, sir! :@
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RE: Some comments about JLPT

Postby PsychoSP » Wed 03.07.2007 4:14 pm

Tajoumaru wrote:
Talk about rude. Apologize immediately, sir! :@

As immediately as you demanded an apology? That gives him a good 3 months.
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